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Law changes have no effect on booze-related ED presentations

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Legislation introduced in 2012 has brought about little change in the patterns of alcohol-related visits to the Christchurch Hospital Emergency Department, Otago researchers have found. Looking at data from 2013 to 2017, the researchers found one in 14 ED attendances were alcohol-related. Most people had bought their drinks from an off-licence but had their most recent drinks at a private place. The researchers say harm reduction efforts need to target all sources of alcohol, possibly through placing controls on outlet density and opening hours.

Journal/conference: New Zealand Medical Journal

Organisation/s: University of Otago

Funder: Mr Coleman, Ms Ford and Dr Foulds report grants from New Zealand Health Promotion Agency during the conduct of the study.

Media Release

From: New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA)

Alcohol-related emergency department attendances after the introduction of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012

Kate Ford, James Foulds, Oliver Coleman, Michael Ardagh, Scott Pearson, Nicolas Droste, Giles Newton-Howes, J Douglas Sellman

  • About one in fourteen emergency department attendances happened either within 4 hours of drinking alcohol or as a direct consequence of alcohol
  • Most people with an alcohol-related attendance to the Christchurch Hospital Emergency Department had bought their alcohol from supermarkets or liquor stores
  • Most people with an alcohol-related attendance to the Christchurch Hospital Emergency Department had consumed their last drink at a private location
  • New legislation introduced in New Zealand in 2012 has brought about little change in the patterns of alcohol-related attendances to the Christchurch Hospital Emergency Department

Summary

Medical problems arising after alcohol use are a major cause of people needing to attend their local emergency department. A new law introduced in New Zealand (The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012) was intended to reduce the amount of harm due to alcohol. We found that there had been little change in the patterns of alcohol-related emergency department attendances in Christchurch after the new law came into effect.

Most people who came to the emergency department because of a medical problem after drinking had bought their alcohol at a supermarket or liquor store, and had consumed their last drink at a private location.

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New Zealand

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